Development of bioactive polyisocyanopeptide hydrogel for wound management

Dr Kijas is a passionate research scientist who joined Professor Alan Rowans group in 2017  to develop novel wound management agents and investigate the interface between material science and cellular responses.

These projects focus on studying cellular responses within 3D matrices of defined properties where we can investigate the role of biophysical and biochemical interactions in real time and with applied mechanical force using a confocal rheometer. Extracellular matrices are a large focus, acting as dynamic platforms not only providing a physical scaffold with defined mechanical properties but also act as a repository for biochemical based signalling molecules and interaction domains, orchestrating biological responses. Matrices composed of synthetic or naturally derived material, offer different and overlapping array of advantageous in the context of cell behaviour.

Dr Kijas and her team are exploring both types in isolation and as composite and hybrid materials to tailor the biophysical aspects to the specific applications. By combining these matrices with bioactive components we are empowering the materials to bring about the biochemical responses in defined ways, enabling the investigation of both fundamental biological processes as well as development of clinically relevant agents. 

Collaborations

Current collaborations involve researchers from both

  • Translational Research Institute: Dr Paul Masci, Dr Lambro Johnson, Dr Kong-Nan Zhao and Professor John de Jersey
  • University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research: Professor Martin Lavin

Funding

​US Department of Defence, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, 2018-2020.

Key Publications

​Kijas AW, Lavin MF. (2017) Assaying for Radioresistant DNA Synthesis, the Hallmark Feature of the Intra-S-Phase Checkpoint Using a DNA Fiber Technique. Methods Mol Biol. 1599:13-23.

Kijas AW, Lim YC, Bolderson E, Cerosaletti K, Gatei M, Jakob B, Tobias F, Taucher-Scholz G, Gueven N, Oakley G, Concannon P, Wolvetang E, Khanna KK, Wiesmüller L and Lavin MF. (2015). ATM-dependent phosphorylation of MRE11 controls extent of resection during homology directed repair by signalling through Exonuclease 1. Nucleic Acids Res 43(17):8352-67.

Kozlov SV, Graham ME, Jakob B, Tobias F, Kijas AW, Tanuji M, Chen P, Robinson PJ, Taucher-Scholz G, Suzuki K, So S, Chen D, Lavin MF. (2011). Autophosphorylation and ATM activation: additional sites add to the complexity. J Biol Chem. 286(11): 9107-19.  

Kijas AW, Harris JL, Harris JM, Lavin MF. (2006). Aprataxin forms a discrete branch in the HIT (histidine triad) superfamily of proteins with both DNA/RNA binding and nucleotide hydrolase activities. J Biol Chem. 281(20):13939-48.

Kijas A.W., Studamire B., Alani E. (2003). Msh2 separation of function mutations confer defects in the initiation steps of mismatch repair. J Mol Biol. 331(1): 123-138.